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March 16, 2013 at 11:09 PM   |   Comments

Del Potro, Nadal to vie at Indian Wells

INDIAN WELLS, Calif., March 16 (UPI) -- Seventh-seeded Juan Martin del Potro upset top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Saturday and will face Rafael Nadal for the Indian Wells title.

Argentina's del Potro snapped Djokovic's winning streak of 22 matches stretching back to last year with 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory in the second semifinal at the BNP Paribas Open.

Del Potro broke the Serbian superstar three times in the decisive second set under the desert heat, then won six of the last seven games to finish out the victory.

He will face the fifth-seeded Nadal in the finals, after the Spaniard advanced with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the day's first semifinal.

Nadal will be seeking his third Indian Wells title but first since 2009 in Sunday's championship tilt after playing well in his first hard court performance since returning from a knee injury.

Nadal's last non-clay court victory came in October 2010 in Tokyo.


NFL's Stallworth, girlfriend burned

MIAMI, March 16 (UPI) -- NFL wide receiver Donte' Stallworth and his girlfriend were burned Saturday when the hot air balloon they were in hit a power line in Florida, his lawyer said.

Stallworth, a 32-year-old free agent who most recently played for New England, and Soleil Guerrero, 27, were rushed to a hospital, The Miami Herald reported. Guerrero was more severely injured than Stallworth, who is expected to resume his football career, the newspaper said.

The balloon operator was not injured, the Herald said.

"Donte' is in good spirits, considering the pain, but his primary focus is on the well-being of Soleil," his attorney, Christopher Lyons, said.

The couple were on the balloon ride to celebrate Guerrero's birthday. Weather reportedly was good when the incident occurred about 10 a.m. EDT while the balloon was landing south of Miami-Dade County.

The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating, the Herald said.

The balloon ride was booked through Balloon Over Miami, run by Aaron Farber, 39, of West Kendall, the newspaper said. Farber, who the Herald said could not be reached for comment, describes himself on his website as "very skilled and experienced" with a "perfect safety record."


Streelman earns share of Tampa Bay lead

PALM HARBOR, Fla., March 16 (UPI) -- Kevin Streelman used a 6-under 65 Saturday to forge a first-place tie with Justin Leonard and George Coetzee after three rounds of the Tampa Bay Championship.

Streelman's effort was the low round of the day on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.

It enabled him to finish 54 holes at 6-under-par 207, knotted atop the leaderboard with Leonard (67) and Coetzee (68).

The day's biggest move belonged to Jim Furyk, who fired a 4-under 67 to grab a share fourth place at minus-5 with Ben Kohles (69), Greg Chalmers (69) and Tag Ridings (70).

First- and second-round leader Shawn Stefani, meanwhile, tumbled into a five-way tie for eighth place at 4-under 209 with a disappointing round of 3-over 74.


Patriots release veteran receiver Lloyd

FOXBOROUGH, Mass., March 16 (UPI) -- The New England Patriots have released veteran wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, the team announced Saturday.

Lloyd corralled 74 passes for 911 yards and four touchdowns over 16 games last season for the Patriots.

He is the second prominent receiver to leave New England this week -- following on the release of Wes Welker, who has signed a free-agent contract with Denver.

Lloyd, 31, has racked up 385 receptions for 5,695 yards and 35 touchdowns over 128 career contests with San Francisco, Washington, Chicago, Denver, St. Louis and New England.

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